Published on June 23rd, 2012 | by Becky Striepe1
Fab Fabrics: Hemp/Organic Cotton Prints from Sara Lee Parker Textiles
Sara Lee Parker Textiles is an Athens, GA-based company that creates hand screen-printed organic textiles.
She was also featured in the Georgia edition of Southern Living Magazine this June, so if you live in Georgia, check it out! Parker runs her textile company with her husband, and she was kind enough to do a little Q&A with us about what she does, why she does it, and what working so closely with your husband is like.
Crafting a Green World: How did you get started crafting, and how did you get into designing fabric?
Sara Lee Parker: Growing up, I had a crafty mom who always inspired us to make things with our hands. I think she sort of put the bug in me to make art!
In college, I studied Fiber and Material Studies and Printmaking and really found my niche in screen printing. I love the transparency of screen printing and it’s very satisfying to see my hand in the design once we’ve printed the fabric. My husband, Simon and I started our business in December 2011.
CAGW: You work with your husband! I’m sure or readers would like to hear a bit about what that’s like.
SLP: It’s awesome! We work together on just about everything. We do all our printing together – we have an 18 ft table and literally stand on opposite sides of the table to pass the squeegee back and forth. He’s also my sounding board for color and pattern ideas, he does our website, he builds display furniture for craft shows, he helps answer questionnaires for blogs … And he tells me when it’s time to take a break, too!
CAGW: Why is choosing sustainable fabrics important to you?
SLP: The more we learn about the damaging effects of large-scale production practices, the more we try to find sustainable solutions and alternatives. At home, we try to recycle and reuse as much as possible; as our business grows, so does our concerns about the materials we use and the waste we generate.
I’m sure your readers are already familiar with the frightening, toxic nature of cotton farming. We’ve chosen a hemp/certified organic cotton blend as our base fabric, which is both sustainable and of a high quality. It may cost more, but it’s like buying groceries: once you learn what goes into factory-farmed, processed food, you can’t stomach the cheap stuff.
CAGW: What types of inks do you use?
SLP: We use Matsui 301-ECO series inks. They are completely water-based and contain no phthalates or solvents.